NEW DELHI: The Narmada Control Authority (NCA) has cleared the final raising of height of Sardar Sarovar Dam (SSD) in Gujarat by lowering of gates and impounding of water in the reservoir upto its full reservoir level (FRL) of 138.68 meter.
Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and his deputy Nitin Patel visited the site Saturday and ordered closure of gates. The Narmada Bachao Andolan activists have been opposing it on grounds that it would submerge area habited by over 2.5 lakh people.
The NCA met Friday under the Chairmanship of Amarjit Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources and considered all aspects of environmental and resettlement and rehabilitation (R&R) issues.
It may be recalled that the last time raising of SSD was cleared on June 12, 2014, wherein permission for Phase-I construction of piers, overhead bridge and installation of gates in open or raised position was granted. At that time, the effective height of SSD remained at 121.92 meter with backwater levels of 134.32 meter at dam site.
“With lowering of gates of SSD, the live storage capacity would increase from 1565 to 5740 MCM (million cubic meter) which is by 4175 MCM (267 per cent). The clean (hydro-power generation) would increase by present 1300 MW to 1450 MW with increase in annual generation by about 1100 Million Units and about Rs 400 crore per annum,” said an official of the ministry of water resources.
In addition, this additional storage would irrigate about 8 lakh hectares. Additionally, about one crore population would get assured drinking water. As it is well known, the Sardar Sarovar Project would primarily meet the water requirement of drought prone and desert areas of Gujarat and Rajasthan.
Prior to clearance by NCA, the Environment Sub-group of NCA chaired by Ajay Narayan Jha, Secretary (MoEF&CC) reviewed the implementation of Environment Safeguard Measures on May 01, 2017 and after observing substantial progress, recommended Phase-II proposal of lowering down of the gates and impounding of water in the reservoir to FRL of EL 138.68 mts.
The Environment Sub-group has also asked the State Governments to complete leftover works by June 30,2017.
The Resettlement and Rehabilitation sub-group chaired by G. Latha Krishna Rao, Secretary, Ministry of Social Justice reviewed the progress of R&R and the opinions received from Grievance Redressal Authorities (GRAs) of the States of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra on June 16, 2017.
The State Governments have assured to address all issues of Project Affected Families (PAFs) on priority basis in accordance with Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal (NWDT) Award, liberalized policies of the State Governments and Supreme Court Order dated February 08, 2017.
NCA has permitted final raising of SSD after following the procedure laid down by Supreme Court order dated October 18, 2000 in petition by Narmada Bachao Andolan.